Beth came home from her mom's prayer group last night thanking me for doing things to instill a love for God in our boys.
There's always the concern of going too far in indoctrinating your children, that they aren't able to make religious decisions for themselves. Sometimes I fret that the boys are just mimicking us in our faith. But then again, I'm not sure that's such a bad thing.
They ape us because they're seeing our faith lived out. They don't sing "Jesus songs" as they like to call them because they only hear them at church--they hear us sing them, they hear them on the CDs we play, they hear them on the radio. That's not to say that we only play Christian music--I've got my ABBA, Simon and Garfunkel, Crash Test Dummies and Indigo Girls--but that they see that praise and worship songs are not just for church.
They know their Bible stories because we read them at home, as well as getting them in Sunday School. They pray because they hear prayers at home and are given opportunities to pray themselves. Each night after getting pajamas on and reading a book (usually from the library), we read a devotion together, the boys name something they're thankful for or anything else they want to pray about and we pray together.
Again, I hope it doesn't come across that we're hyper-religious (if you know us at all, you know we're not). But I'm realizing that one of the biggest elements for faith development in children is that they see Sunday morning lived out during the rest of the week. I should probably have been more aware of this, having a Master's degree in Christian Education and all, but it just dawned on me today while I was washing dishes (which I need to get back and finish, so I'll wrap this up).
Some children aren't given the opportunity to grow up in a Christian family. That's why it's all the more important that all of us in the church are living out our faith in a daily basis. We can't compartmentalize work, home and faith (saving it for Sunday mornings). Faith has to be present and visible in all of our lives.
And I'm not trying to point to parents whose children aren't getting it to say that they're failing in living out their faith. In many cases, that's probably not the case. But I'm fairly certain in our house that's the main reason why the boys can truly say that they love God.